tv BBC World News PBS March 21, 2012 6:00pm-6:30pm PDT
>> this is "bbc world news america." >> funding for this presentation is made possible by -- the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu, newman's own foundation, and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers use their expertise in global finance to guide you through the business strategies and opportunities of international commerce. we put our extended global network to work for a wide range of companies, from small businesses to major corporations. what can we do for you?
>> and now bbc world news." welcome to news day on the bbc. >> the headlines this hour. loud explosions in toulouse where french police are surrounding a gunman suspected of a spate of deadly shootings. authorities say 23-year-old mohammed mera wanted to bring france to its knees and was planning more attacks. >> on her way home a british woman held in somalia for six months is freed after her family pays a substantial ransom. renegade troops in mali have attacked the presidential palace hours after staging a mutiny. it's 9:00 in the morning in singapore. >> and 1:00 in the morning here in london. broadcasting to viewers in america, britain and around the world this is "news day."
hello and welcome. three loud blasts have been heard outside a block of flats in toulouse where a man suspected of shooting dead seven people including three jewish children is holed up. and in the past few minutes an eyewitness is reported as saying they've heard several gunshots and another explosion. the suspected gunman, mohammed mera, a frenchman of algerian deseptember, has been cornered for almost 24 hours -- descent, has been cornered for 24 hours. he has bragged to negotiators he's trained with al qaeda. our correspondent in toulouse says president sarkozy has made it clear he wants the suspect kept alive. >> he wants mohammed mera put through the justice system so that they get the justice that they are looking for the family. so yes, that is the -- presumably that is the reason why they have taken their time with it. the other reason of course is
because when they tried to assault the apartment today, when they tried to go in earlier this morning, two policemen were shot. so of course it is the safety of the policemen that's the priority here. he is cornered. he doesn't have very much room for negotiation. and they have brought his mother here to try and talk him out of the apartment. that hasn't worked. and as i say, the negotiations via a mobile phone that they got into the apartment early in the day have been on and off. at times he's told them that he intends to come out. he said that this afternoon. and again this evening, and he says he's tired and has to go to sleep. and someone was commenting here, someone that has watched one of these sieges before was saying that these stun grenades that are flown in sometimes of course they build up -- thrown in sometimes of course they build up the adrenalin and after the adrenalin a huge downer. when you get that over a period of time, the fatigue starts to set in. they will be trying to wear him down hoping they can break his resolve. they've had quite a considerable conversation with
this man today who has told them his motivation was retribution for children who have been killed in the palestinian territories. he's told them that he was opposed as a french dissent to the military's -- dissent to the military's operation in afghanistan and given all sorts of reasons for why he carried out the attacks that he did. but what is also become clear through the course of the day is that the surveillance teams, the domestic intelligence agency, had a very good picture of who he was. he was known to them. and had been for many years. we believe according to some reports that he was trained as a bomb maker in afghanistan. had been jailed in kandahar in 2007, but was freed only a year into a three-year sentence by a jail break orchestrated by the taliban. the question that he's being asked by the french media tonight is how is it that a known fundamentalist like this who had been tailed by the surveillance teams for years was able to kill seven people on three separate occasions?
he was able to go to three different targets. and how was it that he was able to build up such a significant arsenal of weapons which they found in the boot of his car today without raising any concerns from those who must have been watching him? so there are questions for the domestic intelligence agencies. however, successful today's police operation has been. >> christian fraser in toulouse. the siege of the site began in the early hours of wednesday morning. and christian has this account of the last 24 hours. >> police commandos are on site. the street lights next to the gunman's apartment have tonight been turned off. and it's a waiting game. but patience is wearing thin. he is 23-year-old mohammed mera, a french citizen of algerian origin who says he killed on the orders of al qaeda. it is thought he was arrested in afghanistan in 2007. where he trained as a bomb maker. he later escaped in a mass jail break. orchestrated by the taliban.
this siege is now heading into its 19th hour. police say the gunman is stubborn and determined. twice he has indicated he will surrender. but still they wait. the main concern for police is that he might try to take some of them with him in a final defiant stand. and they can't be absolutely sure what weapons and explosives he has in that flat. a swat team has tried to force their way into the flat and there was an exchange of fire in which two policemen were shot and injured. we have now spoken to the man who yesterday handed the police their key piece of information. mera came to this dealership to figured out how to disable the track being device on his powerful t-mac scooter and dismadget it to re-- dismantle it to respray it. he has known the killer since he was a teenager. >> he seemed a norm many kid. a bit more unruly than others.
he did have a criminal record. but there was nothing that made me think he was capable of such atrocious acts. >> at least not until monday's attack on a jewish school. the description of the repainted bike that was spotted at the scene reminded mr. delashere of the conversation. he said he may have stopped a further attack they know was being planned for today. and at the memorial service for the soldiers shot dead on thursday, mr. -- paid tribute to their sacrifice. >> a french soldier understands the meaning of duty he said. a french soldier knows death. but a pair trooper does not expect to be -- pair trooper does not expect to be executed in his own country by one of his own countrymen and there will be anger that a known fundamentalist years under surveillance was allowed to kill. seven times. christian fraser, bbc news, toulouse. >> we can actually bring you latest pictures live from toulouse. where that siege is taking
place. those are the latest pictures live of what is happening and of course we just heard that several gunshots had been reported by an eyewitness and apparently another explosion. and let's speak to thomas worthington who lives in the city and is a defense analyst. you've been monitoring the situation all day. what more can you tell us about this latest gunshot wound? apparently heard by an eyewitness. >> yes, indeed. there has been the sound of explosions this evening. i live about three quarters of a kilometer away from the scene. and i've heard a number of bangs. i haven't heard any gunfire. although that may just be a little bit quieter in comparison and having in my day job if you like, i'm quite familiar with the sound of explosives. and things going bang. my initial reaction was these were stun grenades and they have that sound and audio texture to them.
and i would echo what christian said in his package just now about this strategy of trying to wear down -- wear down this guy in the hope he becomes disoriented and demoralized and eventually surrounders peacefully. -- surrenders peacefully. >> talk us through the events of the siege. >> indeed. i first became aware of it yesterday morning. i live quite close to the city's police station and fire station. and we suddable heard a lot of sirens -- suddenly heard a lot of sirens and activity and the main road i live in is the artery where the scene is and emergency vehicles driving up and down there. so quite clear that something was amiss. and then we heard reports that an entry into the apartment had been attempted and that had been repulsed by gunfire from the guy holed up inside. and then when i was at the scene today, it was very much -- very much tense patience. and then as the evening wore
on, one of the interesting things i noticed is that there's that phrase "silence is devinning." that would apply in this case. because we heard sirens all day and a very eerie calm. >> and some -- how are the people of toulouse bearing up with these remarkable events taking place? >> to be honest with you, i think they're bearing up pretty well, actually. people are obviously in shock and quite punch drunk by what's happened. but i've lived here for five years. and i've said that toulouse are quite a robust bunch. and a degree of spirit that's going on here. on one hand people are shocked and very angry. on the other hand, a lot of people have said that they're determined to carry on with their daily lives and not stop the actions. and they don't stop their daily routine because of the actions of one madman. and there's a sense of defiance there that's also very clear. >> and for people who want to maintain their daily routine, are they allowed back into
their homes near the facility of this? >> yeah, absolutely. i mean, just to give you an example, my partner works up at the university here in toulouse. and she -- there's a high security presence but she went in to perform her lectures today. i live very, very close to the jewish cultural center. again, there's a high police presence that's going -- going outside with shotguns and very business-like looking but people are going about their daily lives. and there's a bigger security footprint but not an intrusive one. people are still able to continue about their business. >> ok. thomas worthington, defense analyst and also a resident of toulouse. thank you very much for latest on that and we will of course be monitoring those events and those live pictures from toulouse for you. so do stay with bbc newsday and in other news, a british woman who has been held hostage in somalia for past six months has been freed. she was released with the help of a private security firm which negotiated a ransom paid by her family.
mrs. tebets' husband david was killed during the -- it happened at a beach resort in kenya. >> the final steps to freedom, then a dash to the plane that would fly her out of somalia. judish tebet escorted by a private security contractor, minutes earlier, she spoke of her husband, measuredrd by the pirates who seized -- murdered by the pirates who seized her last september. >> i think two weeks, two weeks from my capture, i just assumed he was alive. but then my son told me he died. >> her ordeal began here in this hot -- hut over six months ago.
a secluded kenyan beach resort where she and her husband were the only guests. somebody tipped off somali kidnappers and masked gunmen came to get them. judith's husband david a publishing executive was shot dead and she was carried to a waiting speed boat. kenyan police searched for judith but she was already in somalia. this was in effect an international kidnapping. judith tebet was seized here in northern kenya on september 11. moved up into somalia and over land to different locations. and she went to nigh robbie. she spoke to her son who had arranged her release. >> ok. >> i'm sorry. >> the worst and tense moments this morning on that somalia air strip when her release looked like being delayed. but she was off. whisked to safety in kenya. two former hostages held in
somalia know the feeling. >> the process of release is perhaps 20 or 30 hours of traveling toward freedom. and you rarely get on an adrenalin high during that. and it's absolutely fantastic to realize you're free. >> judith tebet arrived in nairobi in the care of the british high commission. the british government said it did not pay a ransom for her release. a family friend says the money was raised privately and that it was substantial. frank gardner, bbc news. >> now, you have got details of an uprising in mali. >> that's right. troops in mali have attacked the presidential palace in the capital of -- hours after staging a mutiny. the renegade troops traded gunfire with soldiers loyal to the government. the mutineers say the government is not giving them enough arms to battle a rebellion by ethnic -- there has been heavy gunfire throughout today and armored
vehicles have moved in to protect the presidential palace. and joining me now for the latest is our journalist martin vogel. thank you for joining us. can you please give us an update on the presidential palace by these renegade soldiers? >> just before i came on air, i could still hear gunfire coming from the presidential palace. and there still seems to be gunfire coming from -- in the center of bamako as well where the troops, these renegade troops have taken over the state radio and television building. they took that over in the afternoon. they sent all the personnel and all the staff at the state radio and television and sent them home. and then the state radio and television was off air for a number of hours. but in the last couple of hours they've come back on air. and all we see is a clip of mali and traditional music. and over the clip is superimposed the text in a moment there will be a
declaration by the military. that's what we have seen on the screen for two hours that we're waiting to hear from these soldiers and officers, what exactly is it that they want. is this a cue day -- a coup d' tat. >> has there been any word regarding this attempted coup? >> earlier in the afternoon, his communication people were tweeting on the official presidential twitter account. saying that this was not a coup d' tat but i've been trying to get through the communication people, the people in charge of relation was the media have not been picking up their phones and it's been very hard to get through to the presidential palace itself which sits on a hill above bamaka and roads have been cut off. nothing from the presidency late in the evening. and it's unclear exactly what
-- where the president is right now. and where the members of his government are. what we're waiting for is this declaration on state television so that the soldiers that have -- that have started attacking targets across bamako can tell us what really their intentions are. >> thank you so much for the update. you're watching the bbc live from singapore and london. still to come in the program, advertised for adventure, film fans ready themselves for the world release of "the hunger games." >> the ministry of defense has announced that a soldier from the second battalion has been killed in afghanistan. the soldier died in an
explosion in the district of hamand province. the family has been informed. it brings the number of urgs k. military deaths in -- of u.k. military deaths in afghanistan to 405. taking a daily dose of aspirin for middle age may protect people against cancer. the latest evidence based on new research suggests that a daily dose would not only cut the risk of developing the disease but also reduces the chance of it spreading to other organs. the findings are exciting, but experts warn the drug can cause dangerous side effects like stomach bleeds. doctors treating -- saying he is continuing to show signs of recovery. they told the bbc he was effectively dead for more than an hour after he suffered a cardiac arrest during a game against tottenham on saturday. >> this is newsday in
singapore. >> in london, our headlines this hour. loud explosions in toulouse where french police are surrounding a gunman suspected of a spate of shootings. >> authorities say 23-year-old mohammed mera was planning more deadly attacks. >> the family and supporters of the florida teenager who was shot last month by a neighborhood watch captain have joined a rally in new york city in his honor. tre'von martin's parents attended the million hoody march in memory of their son who was shot on february 26. martin was unarmed and wearing a hoodie at the time of his death. the man who shot him has not been charged over the shooting. and joining us from washington is our correspondent, jonathan blake. jonathan, what happened at this march? >> this was a rally organized by supporters of tre'von martin's family.
and after several speeches and chanting and protests in union square in downtown manhattan, the group of several hundred or so protesters marched through the city. tre'von martin's parents were there. and they spoke at the event. and they said tonight that this was not about a black or a white thing but a right and a wrong thing. so they are clearly shifting the emphasis of their protest against what happened in the wake of their son's death to a call for justice. because they have spoken several times so far being very clear to lay the blame at the foot of the local police saying that if the roles were reversed, and it had been a white teenager who was killed, then there would have been a much more swift investigation and someone would have been arrested and put in jail. with this protest held in new york tonight, we have seen the anger and the outrage over the deaths of the 17-year-old in
florida several weeks ago, spread nationwide. >> john zimmerman has not been charged. is there a chance that that situation could change after this rally? >> well, it won't change as a result of the rally. it may well change because there are investigations under way not only at a local police level in sanford where i should say the chief of police in that city in florida where the killing happened has had a vote of no confidence passed against him tonight. by the police commissioners. now, that's nonbinding and doesn't mean he will lose his job but certainly pressure is building on him at a local level. there is also now a statewide investigation. the case will go before a grand jury. and also the department of justice at a national level is looking into this case as well. >> jonathan blake from washington with the latest on that. thank you. the british chancellor george osborne has outlined the government's spending and tax plans in the budget. from next april mr. osborne
said the top rate of income tax is to be cut from the current 50 pence rate to 45% and will raise the threshold at which people start paying tax to more than 9,000 pounds. mr. osborne said he wanted to increase tax revenue from the wealthiest and lift millions of low-paid workers out of tax. >> this budget rewards work. britain is going to earn its way in the world. there is no other road to recovery. this budget supports working families and helps those looking for work. it unashamedly backs business. and it is on the side of aspiration. those who want to do better for themselves and for their families. >> but labeled a millionary's budget. >> all he's -- a millionaire's budget. >> all he's doing is giving with one hand and taking away with the other. it's wrong priorities, wrong
values, out of touch, same old torries. >> one of the most eagerly awaited films of the year will open and thousands of cinemas around the world on friday with the release of "the hunger games." an adaptation of a best-selling american teen novel. hollywood is hoping it will mark the arrival of what is -- what it badly needs, a powerful new movie franchise. tom brook has more. >> the hunger games is finally about to open in cinemas in some 50 countries around the world. this week fans have been camping out overnight. looking to meet the stars of a film they just can't wait to see. >> this is so exciting. and i can't wait. >> i bought the tickets the minute they went on sale. so i'm kounting down. -- counting down. >> the hunger games is set in the futuristic post apocalyptic vision of north america where children from different
districts compete to fight to the death in a televised spectacle. >> you see a situation as child abuse basically. it's an extreme idea that reality tv has gone very bad and we're forcing young children to do this as entertainment. >> the hunger games is an adaptation of the first volume of a trilogy written by suzen collins. with more than 26 million hunger games related titles in print in the u.s. alone, it's been a publishing sensation. hollywood definitely wants the hunger games to succeed. with the end of the harry potter films and the soon to be completed popular twilight vampire romance movies, there's a need for a powerful new money making franchise. and on that front is hope that hunger games will deliver. it's the franchise that has the potential to be broad, to bring in not just its target teen audience but also adults drawn to the film's subtext. >> the idea of living in the voyeuristic culture where sometimes people's pain and violence is glorified for entertainment.
i think that, you know, adults who read it can maybe see these kinds of parallels on a deeper level. >> think after way to show that they don't own me. i'm going to die. i want to still be me. >> what about the uninitiated? to some, the hunger games is more of a triumph of art and harkting rather than cinema and art. the film that to me and i haven't read the books, felt like it was just put in there books. would to this whole world, was left wondering what was the point of all that stuff? >> but across continents, hordes of fans are now waiting to see the film. in north america, it's expected to pull in as much as $100 million in its first weekend of business. bbc news, new york.
>> now if you have a sweet tooth and a love of history, you might want to visit this museum in ukraine. some of the world's most famous landlocks on display, the isle to your, all made out of chock -- the i'val to your, all made out of chocolate. 450 kilograms of chocolate artifacts, paintings, and even replicas of stadiums that will host euro 2012. chorkholics will be happy to hear while most of the exhibitions are for your eyes only some can be tasted. i have a sweet tooth, and you've been watching newsday from the bbc. in singapore. >> i thought you might have a sweet tooth. let's get a reminder of our main story and that is the brief bursts of gunfire have been heard along with an explosion at a block of flats where french commanders have surrounded a gunman in the city of toulouse.
>> funding was made possible by -- the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu, newman's own foundation, and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers use their expertise in global finance to guide you through the business strategies and opportunities of international commerce. we put our extended global network to work for a wide range of companies, from small businesses to major corporations. what can we do for you? >> "bbc world news" was